Former England captain Michael Atherton has lashed out at the International Cricket Council (ICC), and questioned the game’s global governing body’s role after the recent spate of matches being called off abruptly. The New Zealand cricket team that had already arrived in Pakistan pulled out of their tour hours before the match was to start citing security reasons. Following the development, England too backed out from touring Pakistan.
Reacting to the events in his recent column for the The Times, Atherton wrote that the cricket governing body has become weaker after players became powerful with all the money flowing in from franchise-based cricket leagues. He added that ICC, which is supposed to be the most powerful cricketing body, has been reduced to an “event management company."
The former England captain felt that ICC had little standing in monitoring the game’s moral issues or its direction, and was focused on running its properties like World Cups, World Test Championships.
He stated, “The ICC has had an acting chief executive since July.”
Earlier this month, the touring Indian team pulled out of the 5th Test of the England tour after members of its support staff were tested positive for COVID-19.
Atherton says the way money is involved and distributed in franchise-based cricket leagues across the world made players more powerful and pointed out that players now have opportunities beyond international cricket.
He claimed that owing to the IPL contracts, many English players chose to be unavailable for the New Zealand series. He feels that the fact that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), as an employer, deciding to let off the contracted players for two months of IPL was bizarre.
However, many star English players including Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow had pulled out of the second leg of the IPL 14 in Dubai days before the tournament was scheduled to restart, citing various reasons.